Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Anxiety Dreams

In the wee hours of Monday morning I found myself in a frantic state. I couldn't find the shoes to go with... wait. My outfit kept changing—people (the many people I mysteriously lived with) kept running off with the accessories I needed.. ( I KNEW there was a reason I became a nudist!) Where was my schedule? Damn! I couldn't even remember home room! The shower wouldn't work. Where did the time keep slipping? Why did the notebook and pen keep disappearing. How could I go to class?!

Why the heck am I having anxiety dreams about school starting?

Maybe because... erm... School's starting? Not for ME of course, but I have COMMITED to several starting type activities, so I am falling into that boat, too.

I have some beliefs about anxiety dreams, and I am going to share them with you.

Why They Happen

A mind with too much to keep track of decides to torture us further by ensuring our SLEEP is not restful and we never get a chance to recover. Aren't minds evil? And here I was SURE I was only naughty.

So I need to deal with how much I have to deal with, on top of dealing with what I have to deal with. Is this the definition of SUCK or what?

I can't come up with any biological benefit whatsoever of these dreams, unless, like a drug addict, my body is craving adrenaline, which is possible. Though honestly, I'd prefer I dreamed I injured myself and got a nice dose of endorphines. Natural pain killer would be pretty sweet about now.

Anxiety and Writing

Not happening. Anxiety saps creative juices FAST. Why do you think writing and QUERYING go together so badly? FORTUNATELY, writing and EDITING seem to get along pretty well. They are the obnoxious people you invite to the party who are making embarrassing gestures in the corner and nobody wants to be near, but after the party, they are all anyone wants to talk about. Happy people are so much less memorable than the paranoid or the twitchy.

So Anxiety, DO YOUR WORST! I can take you! (provided I get to call the venue, and I am calling the pudding pool, or wrestling).

How does a person HANDLE anxiety?

DUH! By making LISTS!!!!

Oh, I know, lists are fun, and anxiety isn't supposed to be fun, but this is my party, so there.

To Do: Work

Finish the data merge
Analyze THAT data
IRB for that one study
Hire students for the year
Get those three papers written (ouch—this means I'm behind)
Keep up with the recruiting *yaks hairball*


Fill out all start of work paperwork
Write checks
Find money to cover checks
Argue with spouse because that seems to be par for the course
Money (that I don't have) into school lunch accounts
Buy school supplies
Get daughter to daily doubles for Hill Week (Swimming)
Read the paperwork that DIDN'T need to go back

To Do: Home

Finish laundry (is this EVER done?)
Clean cat box
Update spyware on both computers
Find basement floor
Do single mom makes dinner thing (hubby has Tuesday night class)

To Do: Writing

Finish first edits Chapters 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
Enter first edits 12-21
Work in BIG edits
Get book to first set of 'full book' readers
Print out book on one of young minions for beta reading
Buy tissues for said book, as I have some idea what to expect
Catch up on blog reading.

To Do: Eating/Fitness

Assessment of cupboards for foods that would make this all easier
A little meditation and that acupressure thing to get in the ZONE.

I guess my only effective method of dealing with anxiety is head on. That is why the lists sort of work. How about all of you? Anyone have any secret tricks besides denial?

And GOOD LUCK to any of you starting new endeavors for the school year!


Jessica Carmen Bell said...

Oh no, you too? I'm having stress dreams too. I keep having the same one. I 'apparently' have a plane to catch. A plane that I MUST be on, but have no idea where it is going, and my home, suddenly isn't my home and I can't find where anything is, so I can't pack fast enough. Things start falling out of cupboards, leaving a huge mess, etc. Then I get out onto the street, and there's chaotic traffic and I have no idea what city I'm in. I'm RUNNING in the middle of the road, with luggage, for what seems like HOURS, to get to the airport, to get to the plane I MUST be on but DON'T KNOW where it going. I NEVER make it to the airport and it feels like I've been trying to get on this 'important' flight all night. Crazy! I wake up gasping for air! Not good. Not good at all.

Kassy with a K said...

You know you have anxiety problems when...
a) You click on a link (at 3 am) purely because it says anxiety. (Hey, I know about that!)
b) You recognize the lists.. and have remade the to-do list three times in the past week.
c) The list(s) do not help to deter the anxiety.
d) You're awake at 3:15 am when you have a 9 am class.. and have to be up even before that to make grad school visitation phone calls. (Ugh.)
e) I'm going to stop before I confirm the certifiable insanity/legitimate anxiety problems...

Good luck with all your lists!! :]

Briony said...

And just where is the Hart-time scheduled?

No wonder you're having anxiety issues...

Cruella Collett said...

I shouldn't even be reading any of this, because my anxiety has now reached the stage where I randomly burst out in tears over things like newspaper headlines ("Person found other person's wallet and returned it"). And my shoulders are permanently fixed to my ears, and my stomach refuses to eat anything that hasn't been chewed a million times.

Fortunately I have an escape. I ran away to my parents. So now I don't worry about laundry, or dinner or making plans that I can't keep because I forget. *sigh* I think I am finally sleeping again too! Yay!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Yes! I'm having a recurring stress dream. Miserable. I'm even behind on making lists, which does seem to help with the stress dreams.

Those are some lists you have! But you're so organized that I know they'll get knocked out systematically.

Hart Johnson said...

OH NO! It seems we're in the midst of an epidemic!

Jessica, I haven't had that travel on, but it sure fits all the requirements of a CLASSIC anxiety dream! Eeek gads!

Kas-You'll do fine! Breathe....

BrioNI- I know, right?!

Mari-You are SO CLOSE though... just keep swimming!

Elizabeth, the lists help if you LOOK at them again and can check some things off... I'm not feeling all that organized at the moment...

Old Kitty said...

My main source of angst dreams is my work. I always dream we are open 24/7 and we are powerless to stop people from entering nor are we capable of throwing them out so we are stuck at work forever and ever. *Shudder*!!!

I've not tried making lists to combat these angsty times... hmmm, maybe I should!

Good luck with your lists - I'm in AWE!! There's such a lot to do there - GOOD LUCK!!!!!
Take care

Clarissa Draper said...

Lists are a great idea. I woke this morning frantic because my sister (in my dream) had booked me a flight to Australia with my family. I HATE flying. I woke in a panic. I wonder if a list would help.

Don't let them book you flights
Tell them you hate Australia (even though you don't)
Buy Valium


ViolaNut said...

My lists are currently sticky notes. They're stuck all over the house. When I do what's on them, I get to take them down. And they're all headed "Note to self" so my roommates don't think I'm being all passive-aggressive on them. We shall see. ;-) Good luck (and when you do get it all typed, GIMME!)!

Falen (Sarah) said...

Yay lists! I'm a list making fiend! And you are right, they totally battle anxiety

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

Yikes! I hate anxiety dreams. Just had one the other night and woke up ringing wet from it. Life's been crazy messy and I'm living in two extreme emotional states (excitement and grieving) so just about anything ignites me into a panic state. I decided that I would rely on my oldie but goodie and reliable anxiety release methods.
1. Scream till it's all out and/or my voice can take no more. Pillows are wonderful silencers for my neighbors benefit. There is nothing like a good scream.
2. Throw eggs. Not at anyone or anything like a house or car! We are fortunate enough to have a place near our house where the chucking of a dozen eggs is a great anxiety release.
I know...I'm a bit physical in my anxiety and thus maybe strange.

Hart Johnson said...

Jenny-I've had that EXACT one pretty often--it dates from when I worked in a pub and it seemed I could never make any progress getting drinks to people and more just kept coming in.

Clarissa-I'll take that Australian flight! A valium can't hurt though.

Leanne- teehee-- I am picturing your roomies getting defensive. Stickies are a good idea at home, as I don't sit there next to a list.

Sarah--YAY! (though your lists are usually more amusing than mine)

Erica-I sometimes wish I didn't have other people in the house--Jane's Addiction screamed at the top of the lungs is another helper, but even the kids think I'm cracked. LOVE the egg throwing!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If my list would stop growing, I'd be okay.
And now I'm going to start watching for twitchy people!

Lisa said...

The laundry is never all done. Unless you and everyone in your house is a nudist.

I had a money anxiety attack yesterday. It's bleeding over into today, but I keep trying to crowd it out with busy work. That's sort of working plus I'm getting lots of little things done.

Carolyn Abiad said...

I have anxiety attacks about the first of every month(bill pay day). Back-to-school threw my life in a tailspin and recently I started losing handfuls of hair when I thought about querying. So I'll be happily editing for the foreseeable future, to avoid querying,of course. At least I feel better knowing I'm not alone!

Ironically, my post tomorrow is about meditation.

Hart Johnson said...

Alex- twitchy people are FABULOUS, but never set your drink next to one...

Lisa-well I'M a nudist, but the rest of my family will not fall into line, and I'm sure my daughter wears 3 outfits a day...

Carolyn-ACK! Yes... I paid bills this weekend, too, and that definitely adds to it. I think meditation might be something I need, but I have so much to do that I can't make myself sit still!

Helena said...

Me? Anxious? Let's just say that my current blog entry is titled "Overwhelmed" 'cause that's what I am as a writer.

As for my non-writerly life -- it's a litterbox of scraps of paper with TO DO lists. And my dreams don't help 'cause they're all about being half naked in public (and not in a fun way) while not being able to find my clothes.

Can I go live on an island paradise far, far away? Please?

RosieC said...

Oh, dear, I'm stressed just READING your post. I suddenly don't feel like I have so much to balance now. Good luck with everything.

Btw, your lists look like huge endeavors for every point. Maybe that's just your demo for us, but is it possible to break things down into doable pieces? I find that if I write lists that say "Monday: Chap 15 edits, spend 15 minutes cleaning in the basement (with a timer); Tuesday: Chap 16 edits, one load of laundry", etc., I'm not nearly as stressed about it.

Good luck!

Raquel Byrnes said...

I have insomnia, so I don't often dream. When I sleep its cause I've finally crashed out. Sometimes I do get a doozy of a nightmare, but mostly its just disjointed images my brain seems to be filing away.

Hope you feel better. It seems as if your listmaking will do the trick!

Edge of Your Seat Romance

Vatche said...

I've been having a lot stress dreams myself. Most of them are because of college and dorming there, but others have to do with daily life and schedules such as writing, reading, beta-reading, relationships, social life, partying, etc.

So much to do, so little time and I need sleep. Notice the tired face.---> e_e

Anyway, I wish you luck with everything, especially the laundry! Write on!

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, Helena, that image of the litterbox of lists... too funny, in a sort of overwhelming way...

Rosie, the writing I DO actually give my writing pieces assignments like that. I'd probably do better in my other domains if I did that for those, too. I am more motivated for the writing...

Raquel-UGH! Insomnia is horrible! I hope that improves!

Will Burke said...

I didn't have dreams, but I had a good tooth-grinding session in my sleep the other night. Gives me the heebie-jeebies just to mention it!

Deb and Barbara said...

Lists are gooooood. They are the medicine for anxiety even while they are the cause, argh.

RaShelle said...

Hart - I love this. I have anxiety dreams about school all the time too. It's always that I can't open my locker. WTF???

Loved write the checks
Find money to cover the checks LOL perfect. =D

Good luck with your lists. I can see why you're so full of anxiety. That is a lot of *stuff* to do.

Carolyn Abiad said...

Just looking at my son's algebra homework gives me anxiety! I'm the language arts helper, not the math helper. I swear some of the stuff isn't even written in ENGLISH! There aren't enough post-its in the world to cover me there...hmmm...Post-its...Let me go write some lists. I'm good at that!

Anonymous said...

Omg - with all that going on how could you NOT have anxiety dreams?! I think your assessment of why they happen is dead on. Good reason to work on finding some zen during the day to encourage a clear mind. Hey, it could happen! At least it does for some people.

Yeah for lists! I think pondering what should be on mine would probably have me staying up worrying about what I forgot though. ;-)

Good luck with all you're taking on, Hart! Hope you find time to be good to yourself in there too. AS a matter of fact - bump that to the top of ALL the lists.